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Penguins' Crosby producing, but it hasn't been easy

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby is in a slump and entered the week tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race.

Crosby didn't earn his position among the League's point leaders through a blistering start to the season before eventually tailing off over the past few weeks. He has had what for him has been a down season since late October.

Entering the Pittsburgh Penguins' Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA SPORTS), Crosby has 43 points but has gone through lengthy goal droughts. He has been visibly frustrated on the ice several times throughout the past month while scoring two goals in 16 games.

That stretch began Nov. 26 against the Toronto Maple Leafs after scoring a goal against the Bruins two days earlier, and coincided with the beginning of Pittsburgh's recent injury troubles. At the time, Crosby's goal against Boston was his second in 12 games.

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EPIX captures memorable day at NHL Winter Classic

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Oftentimes, the personalities and experiences around the game that fans and media don't get to see are the most interesting of all.

Watch "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" to get an inside look at the personalities of the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks on their way to the NHL's signature regular-season event. REGISTER FOR YOUR EPIX FREE TRIAL ›

That's where EPIX has come in these past four weeks, serving as the window to what is usually an unseen world inside a dressing room before a game, on the ice during a game, at home with the players on off days, in the hotel, on the plane, and everywhere else they go where we don't.

The final episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" doesn't disappoint in bringing the viewer all of that and more. The questions you might have had once the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was over are answered in the episode.

If you were curious about how the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks got to Nationals Park, what they saw upon arrival on the practice day and New Year's Day, and what they thought of the entire spectacle, the answers are inside the 56-minute, 34-second episode.

Hint: Capitals forward Joel Ward was blown away by the size of the Washington Nationals' clubhouse; Washington captain Alex Ovechkin couldn't stop looking around as he talked to Capitals owner Ted Leonsis about the game being a sellout; Joel Quenneville loves the fresh air, the fans, enthusiasm, hype and the fact that the game is for keeps, for two points.

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Blackhawks' Versteeg has successful procedure

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 10:49 PM / News

ChicagoBlackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks released the following statement regarding forward Kris Versteeg:

Blackhawks head team physician Dr. Michael Terry:

"Kris Versteeg underwent a procedure today to further stabilize a metacarpal fracture in his left hand. We do not anticipate any significant changes in his return to play timetable and we continue to anticipate a full recovery."

To read more from the Blackhawks website, CLICK HERE.

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'EPIX Road to the Winter Classic' airs series finale

NHL.com

If you're wondering how the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks got to Nationals Park, what they saw upon arrival for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and what they thought of the entire spectacle, watch the series finale of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" on Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET, Epix, Epix.com, NHL.com, NHL app).

If you're curious about how the decision was made by the NHL to proceed on time instead of delay the game because of sun, you'll find out in this episode.

The clubhouses that served as the dressing rooms for the Capitals and Blackhawks are located up a tunnel from the dugouts, nowhere near the center field wall the players came out of for the pregame introductions. If you're curious about how the players got to that center field wall, watch the show.

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Bruins look to end slump against Penguins

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- With the Boston Bruins in the midst of their fourth three-game losing streak of the season, seemingly everyone is looking for a way to spark the team.

The Bruins on Tuesday named principal Charlie Jacobs as chief executive officer for Delaware North's Boston Holdings, including the Bruins, TD Garden and NESN. Jacobs, the son of Bruins chairman Jeremy Jacobs, took the occasion of his promotion to publicly let everyone associated with the Bruins know their plight won't be tolerated.

"Incredible failure," Jacobs said in response to a question about the possibility the Bruins could miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "When you think about what has been put in this team in terms of the … let's discount all of the scouting, all of the drafting, all of the money spent on the player personnel, for us to be a team that's out of the playoffs is absolutely unacceptable. And everybody in the executive offices is fully aware of how I feel and they feel the same way, which brings us this evaluation process. And it's fluid right now. I can't say at any moment we have a final decision other than to say it'd be an utter disappointment and a complete failure."

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Rosters announced for 2015 AHL All-Star Classic

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 4:23 PM / News

NHL.com

The American Hockey League on Tuesday announced the Eastern and Western Conference teams for the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Forward David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), defensemen Derrick Pouliot (Pittsburgh Penguins), Ryan Murphy (Carolina Hurricanes), Xavier Ouellet (Detroit Red Wings) and Ryan Pulock (New York Islanders), and goaltender Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver Canucks) are among the players named for the event, to be held Jan. 25-26 in Utica, N.Y.

The Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star teams will each comprise of 23 players (12 forwards, eight defensemen and three goalies). The rosters feature 34 first-time AHL All-Stars, eight rookies, 18 NHL first- and second-round draft choices, and 17 players who have appeared in the NHL this season.

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Analysis: Next Maple Leafs coach needs team to adapt

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 3:38 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle bought into the modern puck possession-based statistics because he knew his team wasn't playing the right way and because the organization was making a big push to incorporate more analytics.

Need proof? Here is what Carlyle said before this season about Toronto's collapse last season:

"We always felt we needed to change our puck possession, specifically in the offensive zone, not be a one-and-out team and not be considered a rush team, but try to create more of a cycle game, grind teams down to play with the puck more," Carlyle said. "We weren't able to do that."

So yes, Carlyle knew the Maple Leafs were a bad puck possession team last season and how that needed to change this season. He knew the Maple Leafs hired assistant general manager Kyle Dubas in part to provide statistical proof that the team was not playing a winning brand of hockey.

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WHL move could spur Draisaitl's development

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 2:11 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON — During his brief time coaching this season, Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish saw the extent of rookie center Leon Draisaitl's frustration with his play.

However, MacTavish would only contemplate sending Draisaitl, 19, back to junior if a contending Western Hockey League team owned his rights. Edmonton did not want Draisaitl returning to the Prince Albert Raiders this season.

"I had a real specific destination for Leon in mind and I talked to [Raiders GM] Bruno Campese saying it was very unlikely that he would be reassigned back to P.A.," MacTavish said on Tuesday. "At one of those conversations I said to Bruno that I had this specific situation that I thought was going to be ideal for Leon and if that situation was satisfied, there would be a likelihood that we would send him back."

Tuesday, the WHL announced Prince Albert traded Draisaitl's rights to the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for European import left wing Kris Schmidli, defenseman Dalton Yorke, a first-round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, a fourth round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft and a conditional pick.

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Maple Leafs seek consistency in wake of Carlyle firing

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 1:11 PM / News

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO – Toronto Maple Leafs players believe their top priority now is finding consistency.

That was the message the players delivered following their first practice under interim coaches Peter Horachek and Steve Spott after coach Randy Carlyle was fired Tuesday. Horachek and Spott are expected to run the bench when the Maple Leafs play the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at Air Canada Centre.

"We have to find a way to become more consistent," said defenseman Dion Phaneuf. "Because we have shown we have a group that can play. We have to build that from within. It's up to us as players to build it."

"For the last little bit here that is what it has been about," said right wing and leading scorer Phil Kessel. "We play well for stretches and then we just lose our game. That's disappointing. It's not Randy's fault that we have been playing bad."

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Lightning defenseman Gudas to miss four months

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 1:02 PM / News

NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas is expected to miss four months with a right knee injury that required surgery, the Lightning announced Tuesday.

The timeline means Gudas wouldn't return during the regular season and probably not until the second or third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He brings a lot of grit. Especially on our team, it's a big hole," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "You feel for him because he's really finding his own in the League, for this to happen to him, it's tough."

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Quote of the Day

Hockey means everything to people here [Winnipeg]. They take their team's success to heart. We've had an incredible year and they've given us incredible support.

— Jets center Mathieu Perreault after losing to the Ducks in Game 3 of their playoff series on Monday